Life Health

PROULX: 'Tis the season to purge

Shaun Proulx says it's the season to detox. One of the ways to do it is a sauna. POSTMEDIA

Shaun Proulx says it's the season to detox. One of the ways to do it is a sauna. POSTMEDIA


I detox every year at this time. A detox is commonly known as abstaining for a period of time from unhealthy foods, beverages and other vices. When you give your body a break from dealing with a daily infusion of fresh toxins, it gets to focus on eliminating buildup.

But we can also add to the successful results of a common detox by purging our energy vampires, media, entertainment, devices - and even the thoughts we think.

Especially at a time when so many millions have heavy hearts and minds, the following detoxifications* can give your body, mind and spirit renewal and repair while supporting a return to sharp focus, strength, clarity and newfound positive perspective you may not have realized you were missing.

Here's your detox cheat sheet - and challenge:

Body: Our bodies become toxic when our natural method of eliminating metabolic waste (from poor diet, environmental pollutants and other factors) cannot keep up with the amount of toxic overload. Toxicity can affect every system in the body and make us sick. Detoxes/cleanses are done with whole foods that remove most common sugars, bad fats, chemicals and artifice found in modern diets. Proper cleansing is gentle and encourages the body to do what it wants to, naturally. A detox cleanse should be tolerable for longer periods of time and can take from three days to six weeks. It should not be about starving, taking pills, potions, or expensive drinks. I've detoxed for a full month before and share how to cleanse, and offer two DIY cleanses to try at

People: Show me your friends, I'll show you your future. For the brightest future possible, you must care and nurture your orbit by removing those who clog it or don't light it up. Detoxing someone from your life doesn't mean they're "bad," and you do them a favour by freeing them so they can find people they are their best with.

My mantra: "____ is a good person; we just aren't a match anymore."

Step 1: Remove/block names on every contact list with whom you've not been in touch with for over a year, those you'd deem "acquaintance or less." (You'll find each other again if you really need to.)

Step 2: Remove from your social media people you don't even recognize, remove constant complainers, remove those who post images or words or share stories that don't match who you are or what you want your feed to look like. (No passive-aggressive "unfollow but still remain friends" - this is a detox, so flush.)

Step 3: Politely offer your regrets regarding opportunities to spend time with friends unless you want to. No people-pleasing allowed; you'll hang when you feel like it.

Step 4: Create a catch-all phrase, like "I'm glad I got to know you but I've decided to focus on my [work/relationship/self/health] and I am creating space so I can't do that." You will realize how important this is when truly toxic people emerge after you employ the above. You'll recognize them: the ones who demand further explanation, cause drama, challenge, blame you or try to negotiate getting their way, despite what you say to them. All signs an energy vampire has emerged; lose them.

Media: If you can't stop reading about U.S. President Donald Trump, or any news topic, turn off the radio, the TV, the internet and put down the paper. For one day, give yourself a break from it all. Look down in elevators; look up passing newsstands; listen to the sounds around you (birds?); notice what the world looks like now that your nose isn't in your phone; use a streaming service to play beautiful music while you drive - no talk, no news - and watch something on Netflix instead of CNN. If one day without news didn't make your head pop off, work your way up to a week.

Social Media: I'm lucky enough to have spent much of this winter in Hawaii and Mexico, where beautiful distractions from social media abound. But you don't have to travel to take a break. A week away from social media is like missing a month of The Young and the Restless: Turn it back on and you know exactly what's going on. Canadians spend two hours social networking on average every day. Take 30 minutes of that time to meditate daily and the other 90 to have dinner with a different friend each evening (device free; no posting pics of you smiling at your food) as part of this one-week detox.

Entertainment: Be conscious of how your choice of entertainment makes you feel. Real Housewives are my crack. Watching the franchise turns my monkey brain - wound wild from a typically busy day - into mush. But one city I avoid is New Jersey. It's not just their bastardizing of the English language that makes me feel off, that show's cast always feels toxic - not fun - to watch. Does your choice of entertainment relax you, take your mind off of things or does it make your stomach tighten, make your thoughts speedy, tense your muscles up? Uplifting entertainment - whatever your taste - has power that can't be understated.

Devices: Unless I absolutely have to, on Sunday I don't touch my cellphone, laptop, desktop ... no device. Truly, it feels like being released from prison. (And I don't ever allow any of them in my bedroom, which is for sex and sleeping only.) Our addictive devices are considered psychoactive. But I have a friend whose 19-year-old son led a one-month cellphone detox to create a better headspace for himself; a month! If a busy university student can wisely abstain from the distractionary world, we can all quit the habit, even for just a day.

Thoughts: We think an average of 60,000 thoughts every day. Our thoughts become our reality; quantum physics: 101. Your life reflects right now how much of your thinking is positive and how much is negative. Training your thinking to be more positive in nature is done thought by thought, like repetitive lifting at the gym.

Karmic Kickback: Inject some good into the world. Volunteer. Reach your hand out. A Syrian friend of mine is deeply involved in helping immigrants and their needs as a way to deal with Donald Trump's travel ban. Or, as the late Carrie Fisher said: "Take your broken heart and make it into art." Flush out the tension, emotion, turmoil, anger and frustration you feel by writing, drawing, painting, dancing, singing or taking photographs. Or all of the above. Colour an adult colouring book or, better yet, a kid's. Breathe deeply and drink as much water as you can, be in nature, enjoy gentle movement via walks, soft yoga and if you can get into a sauna or steam room do let your body sweat. Off you go.

* This should not be considered medical advice. Check with your doctor before beginning any kind of detox, especially if you take medication.

Shaun Proulx hosts The Shaun Proulx Show on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167. He is the publisher of TheGayGuide and leads a #ThoughtRevolution on